from forests and oceans inside of you

Category — Arts

a walk on the wild side

Whoa man!

These past few days have just been, well, insane. I can’t believe I am finally starting classes tomorrow! I must admit, it had started to feel like I had some idea of how things work here, sort of thought I had the lay of the land down to some sort of sketchy scribble in my head. I even thought I might just be… “on top of things”. Well, add 45 thousand students to a campus, and, as you can imagine, things tend to change – drastically. Swarms of students now fill a once rather peaceful and serene campus. Bike bells try to warn you of the oncoming steel horns rapidly approaching your butt – you may think yourself lucky at receiving the heads up, however, it’s not like you have anywhere to go, unless you’ve already mastered the art of student “management”.

We were all wearing colors specific to our chosen faculties, so the masses looked particularly vibrant. Purple is the color us Arts students love to adorn. Red, green, blue, yellow and white were all doing their thing there too. We were all divided into MUG groups (My Undergraduate Groups) and shown around campus with sporadic, distressing getting-to-know-one-another games. I just can’t seem to keep up. I can’t for the life of me figure out how attaching my elbow to someone else’s ear is going to “smooth” things along!? Free pizza, however, now that keeps people happy. All everyone can do is smile and nod and “mmmm” – a series of movements we all understand and find a little less threatening, particularly when in comparison to a knee suddenly happening upon your lower arm. Anyway, I had a lovely little group, we kept things nice and international. Oh, and it’s been so lovely to meet some CANADIANS! I have hardly met any since arriving on campus!

So I guess it’s time to get started with school. I can definitely see how time management is something to keep your eye on here. There is ALWAYS something going on. Yesterday a few of us went to the PNE fair in East Hastings. It’s quite the mission to make it down town, but definitely worth the trip – whipped butter, honey and raspberry scones, apple, cinnamon and cream crepes.. you know, the usual evil carbohydrates 🙂 There were some great rides and fluffy things to win, tarot cards to be read… lots, lots, lots to do and see. But, what’s left ringing in my head, has undoubtedly left me without a smile on my face.

Some of the Jump Start coordinators had tried to warn us of the East Hastings “situation”, but nothing could have prepared me for just how terrible it is. Now, I’m from Africa people. I’ve seen my fair share – if there is such a thing – of people in shocking situations. This was something else though. Maybe it was the broad daylight. Maybe it was because I thought Vancouver would be a little better. Maybe it was the fact that only a few roads west you’re able to see beautiful buildings bordered by swept streets and shiny high heels.

I remember, a few days into Jump Start, we were introduced to this amazing organization that is doing there very best to provide food that is culturally suitable to the homeless in Vancouver. So many people couldn’t understand why an organization would focus on the problems Vancouver has when there are entire starving countries!!! And to worry about food being culturally SUITABLE? I know I’ve certainly come from a country with some serious problems. But when you have such devastation right here, a few doors down from your pretty little Vancouverite doorstep, it wouldn’t take much much to convince me of that lovely little cliche, charity starts at home.

Now, there are so many factors, many of which I’m almost definitely not even aware of, that are being affected by and effecting the homeless, but nobody can tell me there isn’t a problem. Anyway, it wasn’t my plan to get all morbid. There are so many opportunities to be seized in tackling this problem. “Get involved!” everyone keeps saying!

Well there’s no shortage of options – or freebies if you look enthusiastic enough! An outright shortage of time, though. I really haven’t been able to establish what to choose, or even what to choose to choose from. Definitely have to learn to ski…

Mmm, I can see I’m starting to blab now. So I’ll see you all when I’m feeling constructive again!

September 2, 2008   3 Comments

debut intro

I woke up this morning in my new room! It is finally beginning to resemble something like what I feel it should have to begin with. I still don’t have sheets though. I think I also missed the bit trying to tell us to provide our own duvet. It’s been an interesting few nights, my one and only saviour being my lumo orange sleeping bag. Oh, but not to worry, it is truly amazing what a few scented candles, pretty plants and photos and posters from home can do, well what they can literally TRANSFORM your room into. I’m actually rather happy to be here.

Well I would be a lot happier if tomorrow wasn’t my brother’s birthday. Actually, that’s not right, I want my brother to have his birthday (it’s only fair), what I’d really like, though, is to just BE with him! My lovely beautiful brother! ABout 14 610km away in a roughly South Easterly direction.

So I guess now is a great time for an introduction since you already know two very important things about me, 1) South Africa (Cape Town) is my good home and 2)  I have a lovely brother, Jared (turning 19 tomorrow). I have always been sure to make it known that I am in fact a year AND a half older than Jared. Only now, that that means I am actually 20… and a HALF…. I don’t think it will be a major point of focus anymore…

I’m not too sure what would be of great interest to any of you so I’ll just spill a few basics. I was born in Johannesburg, and lived there for a fair amount of time – only, at sporadic intervals. My family has moved around a LOT. All over South Africa with a brief stint in the UK when I was about 10. My entire high school career, however, was spent in Cape Town – in various different towns and schools, but CT nevertheless. I loved it there, but when I matriculated, my gypsy blood took over and I spent the next ±2 years traveling to some of the most charming places on the planet. I have definite scars and amusing traces of the mania associated with being bitten by the travel bug – it’s possible that my very own dad is in fact the travel bug… but I won’t get into that.

I came to realize though, that now was as good a time as ever to give myself a quick pep talk and start studying. Some people find moving and change scary – perhaps situations to avoid – but change (in my mind) is one of the most incredible and progressive aspects of life. Change is when I learn the most about myself. It’s when I am challenged to question myself and my decisions the most, with real honesty, and make new and better and somewhat more informed choices… and mistakes.

Though, I don’t think being here is a mistake. I am registered (finally) in Phil, Engl 120, CrWr, Psyc and Relg, however, I can already see that there is much to be learned outside of our lecture rooms – in the smiles of new friends, in the surrounding forests, in the mountains, in the ocean and in the unexpected joys in discovering faint nuances and stark juxtapositions in this beautiful city, Vancouver.

But I’m off for now. The Gala BBQ awaits.

Wish you all safe travels and smooth moves. x

August 29, 2008   4 Comments